While it’s a nice thought, very polite, and good manners to teach your kids to be thankful, it is not the whole truth. It’s like wishing someone good wishes, when you could be praying for them. It’s like saying a good word, when you could be saying a good word about Jesus. It’s like hoping they get well, when you could be praying and trusting for the Great Physician to heal and comfort them. It’s like standing in the middle of a field and saying thank you for the trees, instead of looking up to heaven and thanking the God and Creator of the universe for His creation.
This Thanksgiving, let’s not just teach our children to be thankful, let’s teach them Who to thank.
1. Crown of Thanks. Cut different shapes and colors of leaves out of colored paper. Write on the leaves what you want to thank God for. Tape on the wall, up around the ceiling. Circle the room with a crown of thanks to the Lord.
2. Be Thankful Finger Play.
Lord, I have two hands, 10 fingers that I can wiggle
Lord, I’m thankful for jello, yellow jello that I can jiggle
(Hold up your hands, wiggle your little finger on your left hand first.
wiggle wiggle – First, I’m thankful for_________.
Keep your hands up high, wiggle your ring finger next on your left hand
wiggle wiggle – Second I’m thankful for ________.
(Keep going with all ten fingers, until you are all the way to your little finger on your right hand.)
Lord, I’m thankful for 10 things, but there’s so many more.
But most of all I’m thankful for Jesus. It’s Him that I adore
3. Thank You Reflection. Keep Post-its in the shape of a turkey or leaf near the bathroom mirror with a pen. Family members and visitors can write down what they are thankful for this Thanksgiving week and post-it on the bathroom mirror.
4. Thank you List. Make a list of what we are thankful list, instead of what we want. Do you usually have an ongoing grocery list on your refrigerator where family members can write down a grocery item that is missing from the cupboards or refrigerator? How about keeping a list of what you are thankful for this Thanksgiving? Keep a running list of what you are thankful for, what you do have this Thanksgiving.
5. Thankful Cake. On the dessert table this year at Thanksgiving consider including a Thankful Cake. Write on the top of the Thankful Cake in the middle “We are thankful for…” Then, write in icing different things that your family is thankful for on top of the Thankful Cake.
6. Thank the Lord Around the World. Thank the Lord in different languages. Write or record thank you in many different languages around the world. Before the Thanksgiving family prayer at the table, play the recording as you thank God for loving the whole world and giving his only begotten Son for the world that whosoever believes in Him might not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
7. Hymn Sing. Why not start or continue a Thanksgiving tradition of singing together? Sing several hymns or praise songs together before or after your Thanksgiving meal.
8. Thank You Video. You can make a video throughout the morning of Thanksgiving Day, interviewing family members with the question, “What are you most thankful to the Lord for this Thanksgiving?” Show the video before or after Thanksgiving Dinner. Most point and shoot digital cameras come with a video camera function which can serve this purpose well.
Do some of these things so that your family might remember that we are not only thankful this Thanksgiving but that we know who to thank – To God be the Glory.